It’s 2026. Ten years have passed since the British voted to pull out of the European Union. In London, the Ukip prime minister has organised ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the “sovereignty referendum”. What does the world look like? How have Britain and Europe fared?
The EU has unravelled. Most of Europe is now part of China’s One Belt New Silk Road, which includes infrastructure projects across Eurasia. But that doesn’t mean Europe is stable. It has become a space of geopolitical rivalries. Russia has entrenched its influence in many countries and is secretly worried about China’s growing clout. Greece has joined Russia’s recently launched Orthodox Union, a project described as a “cultural and spiritual civilisation” – as has Bulgaria.
French president Marine Le Pen is preparing to run for re-election. She came to power in 2022 on an anti-globalisation and anti-immigration platform. She rapidly organised a “Frexit” referendum, which put an immediate end to the European project, launched in 1957. Without France, there simply could not be a union of any sort. Le Pen had the slogan: “If the British can do it, so can we”.
After France’s departure, the remaining members convened a Brussels summit to rescind EU treaties and sign a “peace and fraternity agreement”, but no one was certain what that meant, or how it would be enforced. On television Jean-Claude Juncker, a former president of the commission, burst into tears.
Making Juncker cry would be worth pretty much anything, no?